2020 Sustainability strategy

Over the past decade, AkzoNobel has built a very strong foundation for sustainability and is recognized as a leader in its industry, as demonstrated by a consistently high position on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and by the number one position achieved in 2012 for the DJSI Chemicals supersector.

However, if we are to maintain our leadership position and take advantage of business growth opportunities, we must accelerate the pace of our commitment. Building on firm foundations already in place, a new approach to sustainability has been developed by our Business Areas, together with input from external stakeholders. This new approach is focused on getting more value from fewer resources.

Achieving longer term business success for AkzoNobel and its business partners relies on the ability to get the greatest positive impact out of products and services, from the fewest resources possible. Focusing on more effective use of scarce natural resources will contribute to cost savings and will generate revenue growth for AkzoNobel and for its business partners across the entire value chain.

For AkzoNobel, we believe sustainability leadership will require an ever more external focus as the most significant contribution to sustainable development we can make is the positive impact of our products for our four end-user segments: Buildings and Infrastructure, Transportation, Consumer Goods and Industrial.

By doing more with less, sustainability value will be fundamentally connected to business value. We are making sustainability profitable by tailoring solutions to our customers’ needs today and in the future and by future-proofing our supply chain.

Strategy 2020 elements

Sustainable business – creating business value through products and solutions which provide both functionality and other sustainability benefits, as well as cost savings from operational efficiencies.

Examples include:

  • Innovative coating solutions with lower curing temperatures – which also last longer in service
  • Low friction coatings which reduce energy requirement in use


  • We will increase the revenue from downstream eco-premium solutions (that generate direct resource and energy benefits for our customers, consumers and users) to 20 percent of our revenues by 2020

Resource efficiency – accelerating resource efficiency improvements across the value chain.

Examples include:

  • Manufacturing excellence delivering yield improvements and cost savings at our plants
  • Lowest imaginable cost formulations
  • Increased use of renewable materials and energy in our suppliers and our own operations


  • We will substantially reduce our carbon emissions through the cradle-to-grave value chain by 25–30 percent per ton by 2020 (2012 base)
  • As of 2014, we will report on an index measuring how we improve resource efficiency across the full value chain, compared with the value we generate

Capable engaged people – engaging our people and partnering with our suppliers and customers to deliver significant changes.


  • Sustainability is an integral part of business and culture in all parts of our organization
  • Suppliers and customers are fully engaged in developing innovative, sustainable solutions

Maintain strong existing foundations – maintain excellence in people and process safety, product stewardship, integrity management, training and development and community involvement.

End-user segment drivers

Based on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development Vision 2050 work, we have developed scenarios for our end-user segments. A common feature is that resource scarcity (energy and raw materials) will drive major changes in these segments. This will create significant business opportunities for AkzoNobel, particularly when we look across the full value chain.

Buildings and Infrastructure

  • Mandatory thermal integrity standards
  • 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas
  • 95 percent of new building stock using zero net energy
  • Huge increase in energy efficiency retrofitting
  • <6 percent of buildings heated with fossil fuels


  • Universal access to low carbon transport
  • Super efficient and aerodynamic planes
  • Reductions in carbon emissions:
    • 80 percent reduction in light duty vehicles
    • 50 percent reduction in shipping/freight

Consumer Goods

  • People will use only five tons of non-renewable materials per year (down from 85 in the US)
  • Customers will expect long-lasting, efficient products
  • Recycling or products and packaging integrated into business models


  • Four to ten-fold improvement in eco-efficiency of resources and materials from 2000
  • Closed loop processes, making landfill obsolete
  • Cooperation across sectors the norm

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